Many of the world’s best surfing spots also happen to be some of the best beaches in the U.S. If you’re looking for some massive waves, then consider our list to be an authoritative list.
Pipeline Beach, Oahu, Hawaii
Pipeline Beach, named because of the pipe-like waves that frequently roll across the shoreline, is considered to be a world-class surfing destination for those skilled enough to go inside the greenroom. The Pacific swells that hit the beach are both powerful and dangerous, and make for great surfing and hodad spectating; however, be warned: the reef is shallow, so Pipeline Beach is best suited for experienced surfers.
Malibu Surfrider Beach, California
While it wasn’t alone, Malibu played a key role in helping establish surfing as a legitimate art and sport with its consistent waves and right hand point breaks. Waves aside, the coastal views are enough of a reason to understand why surfers would want to spend their days (and lives) here.
As for the recommended skill level: Malibu Lagoon State Beach offers a variety of breaks suitable for both beginners and experts, and Malibu Pier, which you can quickly walk to from the lagoon, also runs the spectrum. Look up the local surf forecast before you head out to ensure the waves are firing the way you want.
Cape Hatteras, North Carolina
As with many spots on our list, Cape Hatteras is a surfing haven for surfers of all skill levels. Located on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, which is a string of barrier islands, Cape Hatteras produces some great waves that can be found year round.
Cape Hatteras is perfect for every level of surfer. Can’t find the wave you’re looking for? Just walk down the coast a bit and you’ll find ones better suited to your skills. While you’re there, check out the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, which makes for a great background should you need a good picture or two while you’re there.
Huntington Beach, California
If you’ve ever heard the phrase Surf City, USA, it was Huntington Beach that was being talked about. At Huntington, you can find just about any type of break you’re looking for, so if you’ve just discovered your love of surfing, you’ll be able to easily find one that matches your skill level.
Also, because of nearby jetties, both left and right-hand waves can be found at Huntington. As Surf City, it should come as no surprise that teachers, schools, and competitions can be found at Huntington Beach year round. If you plan on visiting in the winter, just be sure to rent or buy a wetsuit, as ocean waters will likely be in the 50s.
Rincon, Puerto Rico
Surfers have been traveling to Rincon for years. Not only does Mother Earth make some great waves in Rincon, but the palm covered beaches aren’t too shabby to look at either. If you have a friend or significant other that doesn’t share your enthusiasm for surfing, they’ll probably be more than happy to soak in the sights. Just be mindful of Puerto Rico’s rainy season, which is usually at its peak from August through October.
Trestles, San Clemente, California
If you can hang with the best of them, Trestles, San Clemente, produces some of the highest caliber of waves on the planet. They are so good, surfers from all over the world trek here every year — though late summer is often the best time, with the World Surf League scheduling competitions in September. However, many types of breaks can be found in Trestles, so don’t write this one off if you’re not a pro.
With world renowned surfing spots such as Honolua Bay and Peahi (Jaws), there’s a little bit of everything for everyone in Maui, Hawaii. And as you probably already know, Maui is warm year round, which makes it the perfect getaway no matter what time of year it is. As a consequence, there’s a permanent surf culture in Maui that is unlikely to ever fade away. Should you feel you need a lesson or two to take your surfing to the next level, a wizened mentor can always be found.
New Smyrna Beach, Florida
Surf culture is alive and well in New Smyrna Beach, Florida. With its warm waters, long beaches, and consistent surfs, there’s no wonder that surfing is so popular here the area holds surfing events throughout the year. Regardless of whether you intend to ever compete or not, it’s a great area to hone your skills. All skill levels can find suitable point breaks here. Plus, if you ever need a break from the beach, Orlando is only an hour away.
Outer Banks, North Carolina
North Carolina may not be the first place you think of when you think of surfing, but that may change once you visit Outer Banks. For surfers, Outer Banks’ long barrier islands produce a perfect geographic assortment. A spectrum of easy breaks to expert ones can be found. Plus, with it being so far south, winters are mild compared to other parts of the country. As long as you have the appropriate gear, year round surfing is not only possible, but enjoyable. If you’ve just started surfing, consider Outer Banks as a good spot to incrementally test your skills.
Santa Cruz, California
Santa Cruz and surfers have a long history together. These days, the mere mention of Santa Cruz conjures up images of surfers in most people’s minds. It’s not by accident. The climate’s perfect, the waves are reliable, and the views are idyllic. Plus, if you’re not a pro just yet, the area has a variety of breaks to choose from. Perhaps the most famous surfing spot in Santa Cruz is Steamer Lane — the waves are powerful and so punctual you can set your watch by them.
No matter what beach you hit up next, wear your favorite pair of Reefs while you’re on the beach. We’ll get you there with both style and comfort.